Latest articles

dairy cattle eating hay

Know your lactating dairy diet costs

Look to find a balance between very expensive and very cheap rations

Occasionally, I talk to dairy producers about the financial aspects of operating a barn, aside from dairy nutrition. All producers wish to reduce their lactating feed costs. One producer I know wants to switch to a notorious cheap protein supplement, while another wants to hire a private dairy consultant and tender out all dairy feed […] Read more

“One more” detail of farming: the yard

Long-time farmers take farmyards for granted, but looking after a farmstead is a big job

I am a farmer. Most likely you are, too. This means more on some days than others. Today, it means that frost boil at the mouth of our carport needs to be dealt with. Tomorrow, who knows. On the farm right now, I think about the future. About what looms. I look up through the […] Read more

Getting the call: summoned for jury duty

Some people will do anything to get out of the office. Lisa Guenther chose a chance to learn about the courts

This spring, I picked up some mail that had been sent to my old address. To my surprise and disdain, I’d received a juror summons from Sask Justice. How it works In many ways, jury selection in rural Saskatchewan is quite different from what we see in the movies or in American news stories. However, […] Read more

Investing: taking risks in the new economy

Old economy, new economy. Finding safe off-farm investments in a perilous world

It is the question closest to the hearts and digestions of most investors: How long can the good times last? The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite index was up 26.3 per cent for the 12-month period ending June 7, 2017. Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose a modest 7.7 per cent in the same period, restrained by flagging […] Read more

How water comes out of the ground

Water comes to the surface in many different ways

In my last column I looked at water entering the ground and the factors that control that flow. This time, I’ll look at water coming out of the ground and the clues it leaves about its origin. Contact springs A contact spring occurs when the contact zone between a very sandy soil and a finer […] Read more


Remove and store duals safely to prevent injuries

Duals are useful to improve traction and reduce soil compaction. However, for some farming activities, they may no longer be necessary. Removing them reduces tire wear and enhances maneuverability. While removing duals doesn’t seem dangerous, there are some hazards associated with the task. People have been crushed by falling wheels and experienced strains and sprains. […] Read more

Soft white spring wheat.

A look back at pricing your wheat

Marketing grain is always a risky business. Here’s what could have happened

Spring seeding and combining went better than expected for the most part across the Prairies and the crops are off to a decent start. Excess rains in some regions and dryness in others has caused some concerns but overall the crop is in and growing and looking good. Weather forecasters are watching the current La […] Read more

Avoid giving your baby calves gut aches

It takes time for a calf stomach to develop to handle certain feeds

I visit literarily hundreds of dairy farms across Canada each year. On most, pre-weaned dairy calves are raised away from the main lactation barn or older replacement heifer facilities. Whether these baby calves are housed in hutches, group pens or brand-new calf barns, when I find a group of calves that are sick and not […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Succession can skip a generation

This couple will hand the farm over to a grandson, keeping preferred shares for income

In western Manitoba, a couple we’ll call Jurgen, 73, and Frieda, 71, have farmed for the last 52 years. Jurgen inherited the home farm of 320 acres in 1972. The farm grew slowly. Jurgen and Frieda expanded the farming by renting land and buying parcels as they became available. At present, the couple has 2,000 […] Read more